Santana gave up a three-run homer to Gonzalez in the first inning, and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Mets 5-4 in a spring training game Friday.
The Mets stood on the top step of the dugout for Santana when he took the mound to start the game. The crowd chanted his name and cheered his every move.
Twice a unanimous AL Cy Young Award winner, Santana gave up three runs and four hits in two innings. He threw for the cycle, in fact -- Gonzalez homered, Brendan Ryan tripled, Pujols doubled and Chris Duncan singled off Santana.
"Today was definitely good," Santana said. "The fans keep you in the game, they keep you going. They were excited to finally have the opportunity to see me throw.
"I'm very happy to be able to perform today. The numbers will say something different, but I feel really good," he said.
Santana threw 30 pitches, 22 for strikes, before going to the bullpen and throwing an additional 15 pitches.
"I was rushing my delivery a little and they were aggressive swinging right away," he said. "We threw a lot of first pitches for strikes. I threw a couple of fastballs that stayed up in the strike zone.
"There are a lot of adjustments I've got to make. It's going to take some time, but that's what we're here for," he said.
Pujols later homered off Duaner Sanchez, pitching in his first game since injuring his shoulder in a taxi accident in July 2006.
The Mets made a big splash in the offseason when they acquired Santana in a multiplayer trade from the Minnesota Twins and signed him to a $137.5 million, six-year contract. Boston and the New York Yankees also pursued him.
"Everybody's equally interested in seeing him throw," Mets third baseman David Wright said. "Look, I've faced him. I've seen what he's made of. He doesn't have to go out there and get spring training hitters out to show me what he's made of."
"Adding a guy like that raises the level of intensity," he said. "After the way we finished last season, everybody has a little chip on their shoulder. Adding Johan makes the will to win that much stronger."
A day after Gonzalez got two hits and drove in a run, the two-time AL MVP picked on a familiar foil. Gonzalez is 6-for-7 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in the regular season against Santana.
Gonzalez is 38 and has 434 career home runs. He sat out the last two years -- he tore a hamstring in his only at-bat while with Cleveland in 2005.
Former Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight was at the game, spending time with Cardinals manager and longtime friend Tony La Russa during batting practice. Knight watched the game with La Russa in the dugout. ... The Mets are 0-3.